October 4, 2023

Rooted in Culture

Written by: Libby Reilly

This article has been adapted from the CSU Alumni Magazine Spring/Summer 2017 edition. You can read the article in its entirety here.


When Jacklyne Pham’s parent’s moved to America from Vietnam in 1981, they were pregnant with Jacklyne and hoped to give their daughter a great life in America while still hanging on to their beloved Vietnamese culture.

Today, Jacklyne lives in Southern California, now with her husband and five-year-old son, and continues to keep the Vietnamese culture alive.

Part of the ideals that her parents instilled in Jacklyne were hard work and education. In 2007, Jacklyne enrolled at a state college in California.

“I realized trying to learn in a lecture hall just wasn’t for me. I enjoy learning and I always want to gain knowledge in new areas but I realized I can’t gain that from a monotone professor at the front of a classroom with a PowerPoint. I was getting Bs and Cs at that school and I knew I could do so much better.”

That’s when Jacklyne found Columbia Southern University and her “life changed completely.” She decided that LifePace Learning was a good option for her and she was able to take courses she enjoyed and in which she excelled. She graduated in 2011 with her Bachelors of Science degree in Occupational Safety and Health and then again in 2016 with her Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in health care administration.

“I believe in CSU and I believe in the shift of education to many online curriculums. So many students will eventually be able to find their way back to school because it is becoming a more flexible presence in their daily lives.”

Jacklyne says she travels to Vietnam at least once a year and is very connected to her family and the culture there.

Jacklyne says she talks to her son in Vietnamese and believes being bilingual will be beneficial to him as he grows up. She keeps the traditions alive, especially in things like memorials, ancestory and special dates and holidays.

“Lunar New Years has always stuck out to me and been one of my favorite parts of our culture. There are certain things you do and say before you carry on into the New Year.”

Jacklyne says she and her family get together for a truly traditional and festive Lunar New Year. They celebrate with a feast, give thanks to their ancestors for the blessings of the previous year and light incense candles and stay up late to greet the New Year. They ask their ancestors to protect them and give a successful, prosperous year ahead.

Passing to her son the same traditions and culture that her parents passed to her is very important to Jacklyne. She plans to enroll her son in the only English/Vietnamese dual immersion school in California when he starts kindergarten next year.

Throughout every experience, hardship, trip, and tradition, she hopes to stay true to her roots and bring honor to her family heritage.

“Every person is incredibly unique. My culture is such a big part of who I am and I am grateful to pass that along to my son. CSU helped me gain confidence, skills and friendships that I could have never had anywhere else. I want to be able to pay that forward. I am a very proud Knight.”



  1. Nguyen Ngoc Tu

    Dear CS
    I am CS MBA in VietNam, graduated since 2005, i would like to get contact with Jacklyne Pham. Can I ?

    1. Libby Reilly

      Good morning, Ngoc Tu! Thank you for your message. I would be happy to relay a message to Jacklyne for you. Feel free to email me and I will pass it along:

      Thank you!

      Libby Reilly
      Communications Coordinator